WAITROSE is eyeing up locations in Swindon for its next store.

The upmarket supermarket said it is looking at opportunities in the area and is keen to open more stores in Wiltshire.

The firm has remained tight-lipped about a possible location for the shop, but rumours it will go to the old college site in Regent Circus have been squashed.

Coun Mike Bawden (Con, Old Town & Lawns) said there was a clear need for Waitrose in Swindon because residents from the town are travelling to Marlborough and Cirencester to shop there.

He said: “People want the choice provided by Waitrose – a lot of people from the town drive to Marlborough and Cirencester to get that.

“If we have one in Swindon, that will keep the spending in the town.

“I am delighted that Waitrose is looking seriously at Swindon. It would provide choice for residents and stop them going elsewhere.”

The retailer, which is owned by John Lewis, plans to open 300 convenience stores in the UK in the next 10 years. It has not confirmed what type of store it is considering opening in Swindon or whereabouts.

A Waitrose spokesman said: “It is always pleasing to hear the shopping experience we deliver to our customers is in demand and Swindon is definitely an area we are interested in coming to.

“Our two existing stores in Wiltshire – at Marlborough and Salisbury – have been extremely successful and with a number of producers from the region supplying our shops, we are naturally keen to increase our presence here. We are currently assessing opportunities in the area and continue to welcome approaches for potential sites.”

Andrew Fisher, of Ashfield Land, the developers of the old Swindon College site, said long and detailed discussions had taken place between the firm and Waitrose, but no deal had been made.

He said: “I would say it’s unlikely they will come here. Unfortunately, we were not able to persuade them.”

Mr Fisher said a deal to bring another supermarket to the site was very near completion.

The revelation comes after Aldi was granted planning permission for a superstore in Drove Road last week.

Lidl has also nearly finished building a store in West Swindon, which will create up to 40 jobs.

THE possibility of a Waitrose in Swindon has whetted the appetites of residents.

Alan Richards, 52, of Victoria Road said: “I would definitely use Waitrose to shop in as I really like the food.”

Sally Miller, a full time mother, from Old Town, said: “I don’t really mind, it doesn’t really affect me as I normally do big food shops in Tesco, “But it will still be nice to have the option of Waitrose food as it’s good quality and they’ve got a good selection.”

Payroll administrator Liana Edwards said she wouldn’t use Waitrose to do basic shopping. “But it would be nice to have an alternative to the Co-op,” she said.

Lamis Khourg, a 40-year-old teacher, said: “It’ll be nice to have a supermarket like Waitrose in Swindon.”